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Arkansas News & Events

Arkansas News Bureau

Officials: R.I. man killed in police chase did not steal officer's car
Posted on Thursday November 09, 2017

Providence law enforcement pieces together incidents that led to man's death.

Florida teen tells cops man drugged, raped her, killed friend
Posted on Wednesday November 08, 2017

The girl said a man tied up her and her friend, forced them to take drugs, raped her and then murdered her 16-year-old friend.

Woman who flipped off Trump says she learned values growing up in Ohio
Posted on Wednesday November 08, 2017

Juli Briskman's middle finger propelled her to viral internet fame, grabbed headlines and, more recently, resulted in her losing her job

Large whale beaches itself on NC shore
Posted on Thursday November 02, 2017

Biologists are responding as scene draws hundreds of onlookers.

Pennsylvania city council candidate: George H.W. Bush made inappropriate touch in 2004
Posted on Friday October 27, 2017

Liz Allen alleged in a Facebook post that she was touched inappropriately by the former president in 2004.

EPA cancels talks by 3 agency scientists at Rhode Island event
Posted on Monday October 23, 2017

The federal agency canceled presentations that were set to be delivered by three staff members on Monday to discuss a report on current conditions in Narragansett Bay and future threats that include climate change.

Vegas shooting survivor, California charity co-founder dies suddenly
Posted on Wednesday October 11, 2017

Kymberley Suchomel died early Monday at her home.

Kim fires off insults at Trump and hints at weapons test
Posted on Friday September 22, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lobbed a string of insults at President Donald Trump on Friday, calling him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and hinting at a frightening new weapon test.

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Art partying on Friday night: McLeod's, Museum School sale preview, New Deal, Argenta Art Wall
Posted on Friday November 17, 2017

So here's the scoop for tonight:

Matt McLeod Fine Art is celebrating its 2nd anniversary from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 106 W. Sixth St. See paintings by Cindy Holmes, alabaster sculpture by Bryan Massey and more, plus blown glass ornaments and art, and hear Rena Wren sing and play guitar. You will be plied with snacks and drinks, too.

Buy a membership to the Arkansas Arts Center at the door to get first dibs on paintings, jewelry, pottery and more at the Museum School Sale, 6-9 p.m. at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.

Head to New Deal Gallery, 2003 Louisiana St., to see "We Dissent: An Exhibition of Protest Photography." No music, but beer and wine.

North of the River, Argenta galleries are open until 8 p.m. for the Third Friday Argenta Art Walk: "Under the Influence: Scott Lykens/Tom Richard" at the Argenta branch of Laman Library, "Best of the South" at Greg Thompson Fine Art, Jake Jackson at the North Little Rock Heritage Center, David Murphree at StudioMain and Chad Maupin at the Thea Foundation.

Review and slideshow: Chris Stapleton and Marty Stuart at Verizon Arena
Posted on Friday November 17, 2017

Given the sparse Western desert landscapes and the Hunter S. Thompson-esque horror stories of behind-the-wheel pill popping that characterize Marty Stuart’s new album, I half expected Stuart’s set to create an unexpectedly trippy warm-up to headliner Chris Stapleton last night at Verizon Arena. True to a showman’s form, though, Stuart ripped through a variety show-style set of hits he’d co-written for other people (“The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore”), his own hits (“This One’s Gonna Hurt You”) and hits from the formidable repertoire he’s developed as a country music sideman of the first degree, like “Orange Blossom Special.” Stuart invoked former bandmate (and former father-in-law) Johnny Cash with “Ring of Fire,” introduced with the squarely nonrhetorical question: “Y’all ever heard of Dyess, Arkansas?” Even the younger country fans – otherwise concerned with filing through the crowd of 13,445 to find their seats, and without spilling their craft beer – could get excited about that one, and cheered again when Stuart declared that “Little Rock is the surf music capital of the world right now.” He and his dapper band, The Fabulous Superlatives, were more Grand Ole Opry than desert mirage in their delivery, taking time to let each of the longtime band members step up to the center stage microphone. And – though they handled it with finesse – I’ve no doubt that those who were there for Stapleton would have left in awe of Stuart’s musical prowess, had the openers been afforded a fraction of the luxuriously present sound afforded to the headliner on this “All-American Road Tour.”

Guitarist “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan sang his own “Country Music Got a Hold On Me,”  followed by a number from true Nashville cat session player and former member of BR549 Chris Scruggs. Finally, “Handsome” Harry Stinson stepped up to show off his skilled brushwork on a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd,” and might well have stolen the moment with his “Mule Skinner”-style breath control, had the camera not been so careful to close in on shots of Stuart’s storied mandolin, with the initials “JRC” scratched into it unceremoniously from the time Johnny Cash “ruined his mandolin,” as Stuart recounted to CMT in a 2005 interview:

“Well, I’d saved my money to buy that mandolin when I got a job with Lester Flatt, and it was $650. For years, I was real proud of the fact that it never had a scratch on it. It looked like a brand new instrument for probably 12 or 13 years. When I got a job with Johnny Cash, he got on a kick of wanting me to teach him how to play the mandolin. And he was a horrible mandolin player. He’d take my mandolin on the stage and just play along with June Carter when she was singin’. One night I looked over there and he had his pocketknife out and scratched a huge cross on it and put his initials, “JRC,” on it and then flipped the mandolin over and autographed it and signed, “Johnny Cash.” My heart fell. After the show, I said, “What did you do that for?” and he said, “I didn’t want you to forget the Lord.” And I told him I could have remembered the Lord without him wrecking my mandolin. But it was all in good fun. And that started a trend after that. People just felt compelled to sign the mandolin. It has Stephen King, President Clinton, Bob Dylan, Billy Bob Thornton, Chuck Berry, Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole, ex-girlfriends, my momma and a lot of people I don’t know on there. I’m about to run out of places for people to sign.”

The crowd, mostly listless during Stuart’s set, piped up loud and clear in the intermission before Stapleton’s set for Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” The aisles were a parade of leather, fringe, suede and cowboy boots; all the sartorial signifiers of a stadium country show, if a somewhat traditionalist one. A stray Miller Lite was passed around for anybody willing to drink a beer from an unknown source – which, as far as we could tell, was nobody. The couple in front of us, who’d initiated impromptu trivia during intermission about the original lineup of The Eagles (or, as it was put chidingly between debaters then: “The founding members, dipshit!”) snuck down to the stadium floor for a sweet waltz or two. When the lights went down, the crowd went wild, but it was a false alarm — “Cripple Creek” kicked in on the loudspeakers. Finally, around 9 p.m., there was a great bass rumble that gave way to a cold open; a solo Stapleton ripping into a weed-loving lament from his debut record “Traveller,” “Might As Well Get Stoned.” The crooner's lean outfit was remarkably loud for such minimal instrumentation: guitar, bass and drums. For my taste, they were maybe even a bit too sonically homogenous, but nevertheless solid and in the pocket, with polished arrangements that recalled the “Black Velvet” heyday of 1980s country radio — the era when country fell back in love with blues rock.

Morgane Stapleton, Chris’ wife and an accomplished Nashville singer and songwriter (Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” LeAnn Rimes’ “You Ain’t Right” and two tunes with the late Guy Clark) filled in on some muscular vocal backup to songs like “Hard Livin’,” and Stapleton called Stuart back up for a rendition of Rodney Crowell’s “I Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” made famous by Waylon Jennings.

Don't get me wrong: Chris Stapleton is wildly accomplished and in complete command of his voice. He’s probably the closest thing, vocally, that we have to Chris Cornell on this earth, and capable of blending his blues leanings with his bluegrass history (Stapleton is a former member of The SteelDrivers) so seamlessly that you’re not even all that mad at him when he solves the eternal “Freebird” conundrum by actually playing the damn thing. Dude’s racking up CMA Awards like they’re Pokemon, and he’s definitely the name pulling in the ticket revenue for a 13,000-plus audience.

But somewhere, there must be an unwritten rule that the headliner is to be afforded the luxury of a superboosted presence, something that lets the audience know, as I knew when my entire body began to rumble seismically upon his grand entrance, that things were cranking up to eleven, that we were “really gonna party now.” I don’t know that Stapleton’s set needed that glitz – which, to be fair, was understated in comparison to a few of the stadium’s 2017 shows. Somehow, though, it felt a little artificial to roll out the acoustic red carpet for Stapleton when legends like Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives got the short end of the stick, sonically speaking.

Announcing the inaugural Central Arkansas Music Awards
Posted on Thursday November 16, 2017

In partnership with Arkansas Sounds, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Arkansas Times presents the first ever Central Arkansas Music Awards, a concert and ceremony of recognition to take place at the Ron Robinson Theater.

With the help of an esteemed board, we've put together a list of nominees in 22 categories. Now, we need your help! Visit to add your favorite musicians to the list of nominees by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26. We'll combine your responses with those from our board, and our board will cast its final votes.

Then, mark your calendars for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, where host Kevin Kerby and a panel of presenters will name the winners. Keep an eye out here and on the Times’ Rock Candy Facebook page for announcements about live performances from a few of Little Rock's finest, and make plans to celebrate the changing landscape that makes up the Little Rock music scene.

Over the river and through the woods, to a Thanksgiving meal you didn't cook
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

If you’re not up for cooking a Thanksgiving dinner this year, the Capital Bar and Grill in the Capital Hotel will take you, no reservations needed. The grill is serving a three-course Thanksgiving meal of soup (roasted sweet potato with orange and sage) or fall green salad (with green apples and roasted squash); a sorghum-roasted turkey breast with cranberries and pumpkin pie with maple-syrup-whipped cream. That will set you back $38. The grill will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 9 p.m.

For a bit more money, and with a reservation, you can dine at the hotel's fancy One Eleven restaurant between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. ($95 or $135 with wine pairings, youths $35), or at a buffet on the mezzanine ($38$58, youths $25).

Across the street, at the Marriott, the Heritage Grille will be open for lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and serve a traditional Thanksgiving menu, $30 ($15 children). Reserve at 399-8000.

The Hive, the restaurant in Bentonville’s luxe 21c Museum Hotel, will serve a four-course dinner on Thanksgiving, with three entree options: A house-made campanelle with butternut squash and rosemary, swordfish with Brussel sprouts and shell beans or Falling Sky smoked turkey with cornbread stuffing and whipped potatoes. Other first-, second- and fourth-course options include (but are not limited to) pumpkin agnolotti, wild mushroom tarte, sweet potato biscuits with smoked pork belly, sweet potato custard with sorghum whipped cream and pecan pie. That will run you between $45 and $54. Call 479-286-6575 to reserve.

Or just get comfortable and go to the Flying Saucer, which will be open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving; or the Pizzeria, which will be open at 6 p.m.

Dissent, in black and white: Show at New Deal Gallery
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

This troubled, Trumpian world we live in, and the unrest it has spawned, has provided lots of fodder for photographers. An exhibit this weekend at New Deal Gallery, "We Dissent: An Exhibition of Protest Photography," shows the work of five local photographers who've been on the scene of 2017's many public gatherings of protest.

Showing their work are Brian Chilson, who is the Arkansas Times' photographer; Rita Henry, Vincent Griffith, Brandon Markin and Sydney Rasch.

Sponsors The Root Cafe and Boulevard Bread Co. will provide food and drink for a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. "We Dissent" continues noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19, and may be seen by appointment through Dec. 1. To make an appointment, call Brandon Markin at 681-9916 or Lee Weber, 650-1865.

Forks down
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

EATERY OBITUARIES: The restaurant business is a tough one, even if you have been in business for years. Cock of the Walk, in business for decades at 7103 Cock of the Walk Drive in Maumelle, closed Nov. 4. Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie & Grill, at 315 Bowman Road, and Mimi’s Cafe, at 11725 Chenal Parkway, part of a chain out of Dallas, have also called it quits. Agave Restaurant, a new restaurant off Interstate 30 in Benton, has also closed, apparently over a tiff with property managers about heating and airconditioning, reports.

Kumquat may, Big Orange is open
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

Big Orange, the Yellow Rocket Concepts eatery that has two locations in Little Rock, asks via Facebook, “Orange you glad we’re finally open?” at its new Rogers location. Olive Rogers, we predict, will say, "yes"!

The new Orange, at 2203 S. Promenade Blvd., has been created in a space that includes 5,000 pounds of reclaimed antique wood and reclaimed gymnasium floors, so it should feel broken in. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

This week's opening is a soft one, so staff can get acclimated and meet its Rogers clientele.

A Little Rock backdrop in season finale of "Nathan For You"
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

“Finding Frances,” the biting season finale of Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You,” doubled as a tour through downtown Little Rock, with stops at The Studio Theatre, Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport by way of a plot device that started with Nathan’s discovery of a 1957 yearbook from the Desha County town of Dumas (and prompted the inclusion of the song “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas” and an imagined sequel to Jeff Nichols’ “Mud,” called “Mud 2: Never Cleaner”). Nathan Fielder sets out on a quest to help a fledgling Bill Gates impersonator Bill Heath (who plays himself) locate a lost love, Frances Gaddy.

The way “Nathan For You” straddles the line between humor and desperation is reason enough to check out “Nathan For You,” but there are some real Easter eggs in the finale for Arkansas natives, too: an arcane reference to the “Game of the Century,” the 1969 Texas vs. Arkansas Cotton Bowl Classic faceoff at Fayetteville’s Razorback Stadium; a drive by Central High School; a Downtown Wigs & Fashions cameo.

The entire 83-minute episode is available to stream at

Jimmy looks serious about Cox Center sandwiches
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

Seen at the Cox Center’s Bookends Cafe wielding a measuring tape: Jimmy Weisman, founder of “Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches,” the home of the famed "Garden Sandwich."

Central Arkansas Library System Director Nate Coulter said he’d like to get some “upgraded fare for our staff and patrons” and that Weisman seems interested. “He’s kicking the tires,” Coulter said.

The Cox Center, 120 River Market Drive, is used for meetings and has a used bookstore as well as gifts. Coulter wants folks using the Cox Center, including CALS staff, to get good food “at the right price point.” 

Agāsi 7: Rooftop dining atop the Hilton Garden Inn coming soon
Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2017

The day after Thanksgiving, when you’re tired of turkey, you’ll be able to gobble at a new place: Agāsi 7, the rooftop bar and kitchen atop the Hilton Garden Inn that opened in September at 322 Rock St.

Agāsi means rooftop in Hindi; 7 is the floor the 150-seat restaurant will occupy. The name “reflects the culture of our ownership group,” food and beverage director Michael Skeen said: That’s the Pinnacle Hotel Group, a Little Rock company headed by Chet Patel, Patel’s cousins Rocky and Shawn Govind, all of Arkansas, and Nick Nagin of Mississippi.

Agāsi 7 will have rooftop patios outfitted with fire pits and further warmth will be supplied by the bar, which will open to the patios as well as the restaurant. The menu will be “wood fire-based,” Skeen said, offering pizza, steaks, fish, salads, etc., and shareable items as well. Hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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Good News on the Wage and Hour Front.

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John Brown U. student arrested on explosives charge
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

40/29 reports the arrest of a John Brown University student on a charge of criminal possession of explosives.

Timothy Constantin, 20, was arrested after an investigation began by campus and Siloam Springs police in response to reported statements about a mass shooting or bombing. Firearms and ammunition were found in his dorm room.  He allegedly made and detonated explosive devices off campus. He was charged on the basis of a statement to police in which he supposedly admitted construction of the devices.

Trump endorses accused teen molester
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

Donald Trump endorses Roy Moore. Of course he does. If Roy Moore denies the multiple allegations of many credible accusers, HE must be believed. Not the women. Never the women. Unless they are accusing Democrats.

Better a child molester than a Democrat in the Senate. Or so the "Christian" Trump base believes.

The money quote from Trump:

“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” said Trump, who is dying to get tax reform passed before Christmas. “[Moore’s opponent Doug] Jones — I’ve looked at his record. … I can tell you for a fact, we do not need somebody that’s gonna be bad on crime, bad on the borders, bad on the military, bad on the Second Amendment.”
Jones is a former U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted Ku Kluxers for a church bombing that killed black children. This is bad on crime? Perhaps in Trump's white nationalist world it is. Or maybe it was Jones' effort to prosecute a man for the killing of a Birmingham police officer in the bombing of an abortion clinic, a bomber who struck another abortion clinic and the Atlanta Olympics. Is prosecuting an abortion clinic bomber also "bad on crime"?

We could hope Trump's endorsement would do as well for Moore as it did for Luther Strange. But the election is in Alabama.

Sen. Hutchinson loses gambling machine case in St. Francis County
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

A legal effort to win approval for gambling-style machines in Arkansas has lost a round in St. Francis Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Chalk Mitchell
ruled that Arkansas Amusements, which operates machines across Arkansas, had failed in its challenge to privilege taxes on the machines. Arkansas Amusements argued that dexterity or other skills were necessary to play the machines, thus they were not gambling devices and a privilege tax should not be assessed if they were illegal machines. It has paid the taxes to avoid other penalties.

The lawsuit, with Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson as one of the attorneys, was filed against the state Finance and Administration Department, whose agencies include the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. The ABC has been enforcing rules against gambling devices in businesses with alcohol permits. This has been a political hot potato in areas of the state where prosecutors have turned a blind eye to the gambling machines and where the operators have enjoyed support from state legislators.

The pressure for the machines has increased because of their profitability. Putative games of skill are allowed by law at Southland and Oaklawn casinos in West Memphis and Hot Springs, though they look for all the world like standard Vegas-style slot machines. Using the "game of skill" excuse, operators have tried to add electronic games at various businesses around the state, with more success some places than others. The legislature has also expanded the prize limits on gambling-style machines operated at the big Dave and Buster's restaurant/arcades and the Chuck E. Cheese law allows prizes worth up to $12 on gambling style machines such as those leased by Arkansas Amusements.

The judge in St. Francis County would have none of the game-of-skill sophistry. Wrote Mitchell: "Illegal gaming devices do not become legal by paying taxes on them. Plaintiffs allegation that skill or dexterity is involved does not make the illegal gaming devices legal." He said the plaintiffs had failed to prove the privilege tax was an illegal exaction, having cited no law to support the argument.

He suggested that plaintiffs should directly challenge an ABC determination on the machines in a criminal case or administrative hearing before the ABC board. A couple of such challenges are pending, but they've been awaiting a decision in this case.

Legislation regularly surfaces to find a way to legalize gambling machines.

I asked Hutchinson if an appeal is planned. His response by e-mail:

We are evaluating our options. We will be pursuing it further in some manner. We believe that the issue of what is and what is not a "game of skill" needs to be answered by a court of competent jurisdiction so that all parties will have clarification.
I also asked for a comment from Boyce Hamlet, ABC director of enforcement:

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision. We’ve never felt this was a gray area. It’s clear in the law that video poker and slot machines are illegal and in most cases rise to the felony level. Circuit judges across the state, the Attorney General, and the Arkansas Supreme Court have always been consistent on this issue. Every time we’ve had this issue in a court of law our stance has been affirmed. We hope this sends a clear message that illegal gaming machines are against the law and have a negative and harmful impact on our communities.”

State law meant to block LGBT rights ordinances is unconstitutional, article says
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

A legal analysis by the NYU College of Global Public Health in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health concludes that the Arkansas law that prohibits local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances is unconstitutional.

Precisely that argument is being raised in Washington County Circuit Court, where those who favor legal discrimination against LGBT people are attempting to have a Fayetteville ordinance struck down by the state law. The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the state constitutionality of a local pre-emption law, but hasn't yet heard arguments that the law is unconstitutional as an equal protection violation.

From a news release:

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 case holding that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry, Congress and state legislatures have proposed and enacted laws to protect people who disagree with this ruling. These laws take several forms, but they all foster inequities that are concerning for public health,” said Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at NYU College of Global Public Health and the article’s author.

One such law, Arkansas’ Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act of 2015, or Act 137, prohibits local governments from enacting civil rights protections for LGBTQ individuals that are also lacking at the state level.

Act 137 declares that its purpose is to improve intrastate commerce by requiring state uniformity for civil rights laws. However, it withdraws the authority of local governments to provide increased protections to groups of people not mentioned in the state’s civil rights act, which in Arkansas includes race, religion, national origin, gender, and disability – but not sexual orientation or gender identity. Moreover, it is not an evidence-based method to improve commerce.

“It appears that the purpose of Act 137 is to ensure that local governments cannot enact civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in Arkansas. Such state laws undermine local control, damage the economy, and create injustices that harm LGBTQ people,” said Pomeranz.

Pomeranz argues that the state law is an unconstitutional establishment of religion and a denial of equal protection of law.  The state law doesn't specifically identify LGBTQ people as targets and Pomeranz noted this could make the law hard to challenge. But she hopes the analysis might discourage adoption of similar laws elsewhere.

Tuesday: An open line and a news roundup
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

Here's the open line, plus the news roundup.

Free birth control: Thank a Republican governor (no, not Asa)
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

Donald Trump overrode the Obamacare birth control coverage mandate, but Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts took matters in his own hands. He's signed bipartisan legislation that requires insurers in that state to provide free birth control.

The bill went further than President Barack Obama’s 2012 regulation by allowing plans to cover birth control pills for a full year at once and emergency contraception (like the morning after pill) without prescription. Insurance companies have six months to get new rules into place. Only churches or other religious institutions can opt out of these plans.
Massachusetts hopes to send a message to other states. You'd think even Arkansas could understand the value of birth control in avoiding abortions. Alas ....

Several attorneys general are suing to overturn Trump's elimination of the birth control mandate. Not Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, however.

Climate change: Graphically illustrated state by state
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

The Weather Channel has a great new feature — the United States of Climate Change — a story told graphically (or comic book-style if you will.)

It was reported and written by Dale Carpenter and illustrated by Arkansas native Nate Powell, who we've featured before.

The website features pages that bring home the impact of climate change with a story from each state. The first link above goes to the Arkansas entry, titled "Awaiting a Wave."  It's more about the Marshall Islands than Arkansas, where many Marshallese have sought work. The islands are threatened by rising sea levels and that could mean an even greater migration to the Springdale area in the years ahead. It's a poignant story told by real people. One sample from the work:

Dead coaches walking: The sad last reel of 2017 Razorback football
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

That was a melancholy article in the sports section in this morning's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with quotes from head Hog football coach Bret Bielema and a couple of assistants about getting ready for what most believe to be Bielema's final game as coach.

A head coaching change inevitably means changes in assistant coaches, too.

Bielema said he had no regrets and even sounded a hopeful note, citing improved records this year by some other teams.

"All these teams had a dip-down year," Bielema said. "Now, I didn't have the prior success, I get it. But what we took over, what we've built and what's coming back is a very exciting time."
Top assistants Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads also acknowledged the talk of changes in the coaching staff, but said that was part of the business. They've been fired before. Said Enos:

We can take it. We can handle it. Obviously when you're 4-7, we know people aren't going to be running around trying to have a parade for us or build statues of us in front of the stadium. We get all that..

The expected change in leadership would come with financial complications — both a deal with a new coach, or coaches, and settling up with the old ones. (UA also has an athletic director to hire to succeed Jeff Long, who made $1 million a year and buyout worth up to more than $4 million.) So, for the record:

Head coach Bret Bielema has a contract that runs through 2020. There are different opinions on what his buyout is worth , between $5 and $6 million by one account, but much more by an original contract that has since been altered.

The assistant coaches, with one exception, have contracts that only run through June 30, 2018. The terms in them generally provide for the time remaining on contracts should they be terminated, or up to six months. A change in head coach is an event that can give rise to a termination for "convenience." 

The coach payroll adds up to about $8 million, not counting a variety of perks such as cars and tickets to games.

Bret Bielema, head coach, has a current pay level of $4.2 million and a contract through 2020: Here is his contract.

Dan Enos. The offensive coordinator is paid $800,000. His contract runs through June 30, 2020.  See his most recent contract here.

Paul Rhoads.
 The defensive coordinator makes $700,000, His most recent contract here.

Michael Smith. The receivers' coach makes $400,000,

Chad Walker. The linebacker coach makes $375,000.

Kurt Anderson The offensive line coach is paid $370,000,

Barry Lunney.
The tight ends coach makes $350,000.

John Scott.
The defensive line coach is paid $340,000

Reggie Mitchell.
The running back coach makes $310,000.

Vernon Hargreaves.
The linebacker coach is paid $300,000

All the coaches have contracts with incentives based on performance on the field, such as a conference championship, but none of those will be applicable this year. Bielema can qualify for $50,000 for meeting a couple of academic standards.

Give us your tired, your poor .... and Trump will harm them
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

The Trump administration has revoked legal status for 50,000 Haitian immigrants. This means 27,000 U.S. citizen children now have parents facing the dilemma of returning to Haiti or living in U.S. shadows as undocumented residents.

As someone else said: Happy Thanksgiving.

New report on ill consequences of charter schools
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

A new report by the Network for Public Education challenges the talking points for the charter school movement and details ways they can be damaging to children and real public schools.

Charter schools are publicly funded quasi-private schools, typically operated by opaque private corporations whose foundational records are not open to public inspection. They aren't accountable to voters. States have a spotty record of holding them accountable. Arkansas, for example, has often forgiven shortcomings, most recently in forgiving a raft of accounting problems by a "virtual" charter school. Meanwhile, the state refuses to give up control of the Little Rock School District for low test scores at a couple of its 48 schools. It's a district buffeted by leaching of higher achieving students to proliferating charter schools established where no demonstrable need existed.

As Diane Ravitch writes in heralding the new report:

The first law authorizing charter schools was authorized by Minnesota in 1991, and the first charter school opened in St. Paul in 1992. The original idea of charters was that they would enroll students with high-needs, would try new approaches, and would share what they learned with the public schools. They were not intended to be competitors with public schools, but to be akin to research and development centers, abetting the work of the public schools.

Now, 25 years later, the charter sector has burgeoned into nearly 7,000 schools enrolling some three million students. Some charters are corporate chains. Some are religious in character. Some operate for profit. Some are owned and run by non-educators.

Instead of collaborating with public schools, most compete for students and resources. Instead of serving the neediest students, many choose the students who are likeliest to succeed.

It is time for a thorough inquiry into the status and condition of charter schools today, and that is what Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, has done in this report.

An experienced high school principal, Burris has traveled the country, visiting charter schools and talking to parents, teachers, students, and administrators.

Not only has she examined many charters, she reviews the marketing of charters and their fiscal impact on traditional public schools. Policy makers have not expanded the funding at the state or local level to pay for new charters. Instead, they have cut funding for the public schools that typically enroll 85-90% of students. Thus, most students will have larger classes and fewer curriculum choices because of the funding taken away for charter schools. Burris also analyzes the report on charters by the NAACP and the response to it by charter advocates.

This is neither fair nor just nor wise.

Here's the full report.

And, as the blogger Curmudgucation notes, this report isn't a policy statement, though he acknowledges that NPE has a negative point of view on the charter movement. It is compilation of 11 specific investigations over the course of a year. The findings range from dubious schools to financial shenanigans and the enduring problem of a lack of equal accountability for the same outlay of dollars that public schools receive from states.

Arkansas Judiciary - Job Openings

Attorney Ad Litem Program Director
Posted on Monday November 20, 2017

Job Type: 
Full Time
Contact Name: 
Jennifer Craun

Arkansas Court of Appeals Staff Attorney
Posted on Monday November 20, 2017

Job Type: 
Full Time
Contact Name: 
Chief Judge Rita Gruber c/o Elaine Frigon


          The Arkansas Court of Appeals is now accepting applications for the position of Staff Attorney, with employment to begin in January 2018.

          The primary duty of Staff Attorneys is to research and prepare legal memoranda on factually complex cases and to prepare draft opinions as requested by the Court of Appeals judges. Staff Attorneys also provide other support to the Court, including, but not limited to, assisting with motions and performing administrative duties connected with the operation of the Court. Staff Attorneys work for the entire Court of Appeals rather than for an individual judge.

          Applicants for the position must hold an attorney’s license issued by the State of Arkansas and shall have three years’ licensed experience in either law practice, a judicial clerkship, or similar work. Applicants must also have excellent research and writing skills. Proficiency with Microsoft WORD and CourtConnect is preferred, and a familiarity with public-utility law is helpful.

          The Staff Attorney position is a Grade GS11, with a starting salary of $62,531, which may be negotiable based on experience. Staff Attorneys work a standard forty-hour week and are eligible for most State benefits including retirement, group health and life insurance programs, and HSA and FSA.

Applicants should send a resume, cover letter, and a writing sample not to exceed ten pages by email to Chief Judge Rita Gruber, c/o Elaine Frigon, at, or by mail to:

Chief Judge Rita Gruber
c/o Elaine Frigon
Arkansas Court of Appeals
625 Marshall St.
Little Rock, AR 72201


Dependency-Neglect Attorney Ad Litem (AAL) Faulkner, White, Saline, Boone, Grant, Hot Springs
Posted on Thursday November 16, 2017

Job Type: 
Full Time
Contact Name: 
Gabrielle Russ


Faulkner, White, Saline, Boone, Grant and Hot Springs Counties

The Dependency-Neglect Attorney Ad Litem Program has part-time and/or full-time positions for Faulkner, White, Saline, Boone, Grant and Hot Springs counties.  All interested attorneys should apply and indicate in your cover letter why you are interested, which county or counties you are interested in and whether you desire a full time or part time position.   Please submit a current resume, cover letter detailing interest and three professional references to be considered for the position. The materials should be sent Gabrielle Russ via email at or mail to Justice Building, 625 Marshall Street Little Rock, AR 72201.   All applications will be reviewed as received in order to fill the positions as soon as possible.


AOC Computer Support Analyst I
Posted on Tuesday November 07, 2017

Job Type: 
Full Time
Contact Name: 
Ben Houston
Contact Email: 

The AOC Computer Support Analyst I is responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining personal computers in a networked environment for the Arkansas Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Administrative Office of the Courts and other entities within the Judicial Branch. 

View full details and apply online: click here.

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